Hear, Sense and Feel
1972 Black Jazz Records BJ9
1 Awakening – Prologue / Spring Thing 9:36
2 When Will It Ever End 7:16
3 Convulsions 6:37
4 Kera’s Dance 10:05
5 Jupiter 7:33
6 Brand New Feeling 5:50
7 Awakening – Epilogue 1:08
Bass – Reggie Willis
Drums – Arlington Davis, Jr.
Flugelhorn, Trumpet – Frank Gordon
Piano, Electric Piano – Ken Chaney
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Ari Brown
Trombone – Steve Galloway
Electric bass on “Brand New Feeling” – Richard Evans
Produced by – Gene Russell
Recorded at Streeterville Studio, Chicago
A lovely, dare I say a gorgeous record from jazz ensemble The Awakening, all of whose members seemed to have connections of the AACM collective founded by Muhal Richard Abrams in Chicago. While Frank Gordon and Ken Chaney were co-credited as bandleaders, the record has the kind of musical egalitarianism you might expect. Recording for the short-lived Black Jazz label, they were only around for about four years and put out two excellent albums of mostly mellow, modal, moody jazz in the more soulful corner of the Afrocentric “spiritual” jazz idiom. In spite of having a track titled “Convulsions”, everything on the record is melodic, with the occasional free riffing or over-blowing coasting on top of solid grooves. The record opens up with a invocation-type poem that leads into “Spring Thing,” which eases us into the album. If I have any criticism of the record it might be that, while this first track features obligatory solos from everyone as a way of introducing their voices, it somehow ends up not particularly representing the musical identity of the group. But that is okay, because 1972 was a time when people seemed to have more time to sit and listen to music and didn’t have to be `hooked` in the first few minutes to stay interested. Patience, my friend. “When Will It End” has a circular-time thing going apropos of the title, with the bass playing a five-note ascending riff that barely changes over the course of seven minutes. Chaney switches to electric piano for this one with delicious results. Speaking of piano, for whatever reason, random association or coincidence, the two compositions by (trumpeter) Frank Gordon remind me a lot of McCoy Tyner
With the exception of special guest Richard Evans, who plays the only electric bass on the record on the funky closer “Brand New Feeling,” the two members with the broadest pedigree outside the AACM seem to be Steve Galloway and Ken Chaney. Galloway played with Count Basie in addition to credits on the cult-classic “Funky Skull” album by Melvin Jackson and a respectable number of soul sessions (Jerry Butler, The Dells, The Staples), and Ken Chaney, who among his other accomplishments played on the massive hit “Soulful Strut” by Young-Holt Unlimited.
“Hear, Sense, and Feel” is an immediately accessible, uplifting jazz record. Their next album, “Mirage,” was a bit funkier and a little bit more “out” as well.
A long time ago I promised to share a whole bunch of stuff from the Black Jazz discography. Well as the saying goes, promises were meant to be broken. Anyway this should help ease the pain until I dip back into their catalog again here.